Kamo High School head girls Maea Shepherd and Savannah Sullivan both did well in a competition to celebrate the women's suffrage movement. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Kamo High School head girls Maea Shepherd and Savannah Sullivan both did well in a competition to celebrate the women's suffrage movement. Photo/Michael Cunningham

A desire to learn more about women's suffrage encouraged the head girls of Kamo High School to enter a competition about the movement.

But they weren't expecting to do as well as they did.

Maea Shepherd, 17, was the overall winner of the Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust Schools' Suffrage 125 Competition, while Savannah Sullivan, 18, made the finals with her entry.

"I was quite gobsmacked because I was not expecting anything really. I put together this one minute video, I didn't think it could win," said Shepherd.

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The Suffrage 125 competition was to recognise those who were involved in the suffrage campaign, and to celebrate 125 years since women were given the right to vote in New Zealand - the first country in the world to grant this.

Entrants used song, writing, poetry and artwork to answer the question "what does the suffrage movement mean to you; your family; your whānau; your identity?"

Sullivan - who submitted an essay - said she hadn't thought about what the movement meant to her, so decided writing would be the best way to express that.

"I wanted to discover what it actually means to me. And figuring out that I'm so privileged to be able to vote, and the fact that there's people out there who can't - which is crazy," she said.

Shepherd submitted a video which followed the "amazing women" in her life and was set to a song she created.

"I didn't realise how important the vote was until I realised if we didn't have that, we couldn't choose to be ourselves really because we wouldn't have autonomy over ourselves."

For winning, Shepherd received $500 and will attend an ideation session for the NZ Global Suffrage Project. Her video will also be showcased online.

The pair were both excited to be able to vote at the next election.

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"Every single voice and every single vote, it does matter and it does have an impact and if you can impact those around you by voting, that's even better," Shepherd said.

Meanwhile, Kyla Sherbanowski from Bay of Islands College also did well in the competition, which was open to year 13 students in Auckland and Northland, and was highly commended for her entry The Māori Wahine - fight for our Wahine and for our Nation.